Ty Hafan

#family friday

supporting positive mental wellbeing with play

Mental health awareness and positive mental wellbeing plays such an important part in the way we deliver care at Tŷ Hafan. For Mental Health Awareness Week our play worker, Emma Atkins, has written about the benefits of ‘play’ and its power in supporting positive mental wellbeing, both for the child and the family.

Emma Atkins, play worker


It’s important that we can continue to provide children with opportunities to play in these challenging times while meeting up with friends and trips out isn’t possible. Play offers freedom - a chance to be imaginative and expressive.

Playing supports positive mental wellbeing as it provides opportunity for problem solving and helps children to feel a sense of achievement. This can develop their confidence and self-esteem. Through playing, children can also learn how to understand and manage feelings of frustration.

To support the wellbeing of children at Tŷ Hafan, the play team is offering group and 1-1 play and also music and story-telling sessions to those staying at the hospice, all via video call. This has meant that, despite the team working remotely, children staying at Tŷ Hafan still have the opportunity to be creative, imaginative and expressive, and experience the benefits of play.

We’ve also been offering 1-1 and group art, play, music and story sessions via video call for families in the community. This has given our families chances to be creative, express emotion, have fun and make precious memories in the comfort of their own home.

As well as this, the virtual sessions have allowed us to stay connected and continue to still ‘be there’ for families, despite not being able to visit them. As art has really similar benefits to play, I’ve been offering 1-1 creative art sessions for children in the community. By getting covered in paint and glitter together…well, over video anyway, it’s given children some autonomy in this really restricting time and an opportunity to express and explore difficult emotions creatively.

Alongside all of this, you may have seen that we’ve been connecting with our families by posting regular music videos, stories, arts and crafts ideas and story massage ideas on social media which we hope have inspired families to keep being creative and most importantly, keep playing!